No one looks forward to pricing business phone systems.
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An overabundance of features, multiple system options and a crowded field of vendors make cost comparisons difficult, to say the least. As a cost-conscious small business owner, you're faced with the dilemma of finding a provider that offers maximum features at a minimum price.
Hosted PBX phone systems offer small business owners a convenient and cost-efficient communication resource. Instead of dealing with the hassle and expense of a sophisticated PBX installation on-site, incoming calls are routed through the provider's database and then forwarded to the proper extensions in your company. The big advantage is that you can centralize your phone system, take advantage of VoIP technology and lower your upfront costs at the same time.
Even so, it's important to understand how hosted PBX vendors price their products. If you don't give pricing adequate attention, you could easily end up with a Cadillac solution that negates the potential cost savings.
Hosted PBX Pricing Plans
Hosted PBX phone systems are priced on a monthly per-line basis. The amount you pay your provider is determined by the number of extensions and employees that require service. Although there are many other things that factor into your total monthly payment, standard hosted PBX services typically cost $10-$20/line per month. If your business employs a large number of workers or requires a large number of extensions, it's possible to secure an economy of scale discount that results in a $6-$8/line per month expense.
The big variable in pricing hosted PBX phone service is the number of advanced features you purchase. Since hosted PBX leverages VoIP technology, your company will have access to the most sophisticated telecommunications features in the marketplace. If you take advantage of all of them, expect to pay $70+/line per month. However, typical all-in-one service usually runs in the range of $25-$60/line per month.
Unfortunately, advanced features aren't the only potential of charge in hosted PBX phone systems. If you can use your existing network and hardware, startup costs will be minimal. But if you need to install a new router or network, you could incur $900-$1200 in startup expenses. Also, if you need to purchase hosted PBX capable phones, it's going to cost you $125-$200/employee.
One last thing to consider in the cost of hosted PBX is bandwidth. Hosted PBX relies on the Internet to transmit calls. Typical business grade DSL costs $70-$150/month and commercial T1 lines cost $300-$500/month.